There are few people I work with whom I genuinely like. My co-worker Ellen is one of them—mainly because she saved my life.
Ellen fell ill a few weeks ago and needed to take an extended leave from work. She wasn't answering her cell phone and she doesn't have the internet at home so I've had to rely on rumors of her return.
When I first heard "Today's the day!" I ran out and bought her a wad of flowers, which I planned to give to her, along with a card, when she returned. I wanted it to be a surprise because as we all know, flowers given on the fly supertrump flowers given with advance notice.
Alas, today was not that day.
Each morning, there was rumor of Ellen's return. Life started to follow a strange little pattern.
"Today's the day!" someone would announce confidently. I'd grab the wad of flowers and diligently walk it down the hall, up the stairs, down another hall, through the jungle, down the elevator, and across the courtyard. (Uphill both ways, I tell you!)
No Ellen. The door was locked. The light was off. Nuttin'.
I'd clench the wad and diligently walk it back across the courtyard, up the elevator, through the jungle, down another hall, back down the stairs, and back down the hall.
Day after day, no Ellen.
Still, I continued to rely on the news from my fearless co-workers—"Today's the day!"—and take my daily pilgrimage with the damn wad. People started to chuckle and joke that I had adopted a plant and was now intent on taking it for a daily stroll, but I didn't care. I didn't want to call ahead to see if Ellen was in. I wanted to surprise her.
Finally, finally, today (!) Ellen was at her desk. She was pale and wan and laden with floral arrangements like a damn beauty pageant winner but hooboy, was she ever surprised to see me and my wad.
It wasn't until I handed it to her that I realized it was dead.
"I'm sorry!" I blurted. "I can bring it back to life."
"It's ok," she laughed. "I bet they were beautiful."
I walked back to my office. Mission accomplished.
Then, just as I was about to bite into my sandwich a co-worker popped her head in the door.
"Ellen's back!" she said.
"I know," I shot back.
"Can you believe someone gave her dead flowers? I threw them away! The woman's been sick for God's sake. What does that say?"
It says I did a lot of walking for nothing.